Anish Abraham completed his Undergraduate degree from Indian Institute of Information Technology, Kancheepuram, India and is currently doing his Masters of Science from University of Alberta, Canada. He joined us in May, 2022 and is currently working as an MSc Student in our team.
My Research interests are Composite materials and additive manufacturing,
I am working on developing a system for 3D printing continuous carbon fiber with PEEK at industrial scale. The aerospace and biomedical industry utilizes composite materials and PEEK polymer for many structural application. But the bottle neck for manufacturing composite material parts are the requirement of heavy machineries like autoclaves, molds, winding machines etc. These machines are limited in versitlity of the parts that can be manufactured and time consuming.
Some of the challenges associated with the development of an additive manufacturing system for continuous fiber printer are that, it cannot take advantage of the existing printing paths used by polymer printers. PEEK is an engineering thermoplastic that has enhanced mechanical, chemical and thermal properties, with this comes the challenges of handling such polymers at its high melting temperatures. Due to the high viscosity of molten PEEK impregnating carbon fiber with the polymer is a challenge.
The solution designed uses a screw based extrusion system that has a carbon fiber impregnation module attached as its nozzle. The printing will be performed using robotic arm to follow the non-planar intricate path required for continuous carbon fiber.
As the polymer extrusion technology is developed enough,initial step involved choosing an extruder that has the capability of extruding PEEK. To optimize the printing parameters for PEEK, a large scale printer was assembled with the extruder purchased. The PEEK printing properties will thoroughly studied before incorporating carbon fiber into printing.
A novel nozzle is to be designed and developed in which carbon fiber can be impregnated with PEEK and fiber can be cut at required locations.
The mechanical system for the large scale PEEK 3D printer has been developed so far. Design works for the fiber printing nozzle has also commenced.